The work of Lent

The focus we've been given by our neighbors this week for our particular prayer—the matter of the open-pit mine being proposed to be dug at the headwaters of the Wolf River—is a pretty apt picture of what we engage with in this season of Lent.

Namely, what extractive or acquisitive passions or energies are now, or habitually threaten to, foul the springs of our hearts, that, in the divine intention, are meant for the reflection of God's glory, the life, health, and flourishing of others, and the reconciliation of ourselves and all things in love?

We have legitimate need for solace, love, comfort, requital, exchange, attention, and so on. Where have we gone out and hunted these things down, taken for ourselves by force of will what would have been given us, in the dispensation of mercy, had we only been attentive to the graced time and measure of the gift?

So in Lent we get to expose our inner geography to God, to allow the Spirit to probe the tender, mercenary places, and to offer ourselves up to the Spirit's ministrations for reordering and healing.

For this entire sermon of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, of which our reading is a small part, is an instruction in watershed hydrology. As Julian says, there is Jesus the Gardener, ditching and delving, making the sweet streams to flow in the most beneficial ways to gain his desired harvest.

What is it, then, about our own particular watershed that causes what would, properly harnessed, have been the sweet streams of our energies, to instead become destructive, flooding some places and eroding others? What manner of debris is clogging the waterway, or polluting the purity of the offering?

This Lent, let us allow Jesus to see us, to love us, reorder us, to heal us in patience, endurance, and self-gift. And we will be given what we need at the right time and in the right measure. May we have eyes to see this, and to expect it, from Jesus's own hand.

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